Loughborough University
Leicestershire, UK
LE11 3TU
+44 (0)1509 263171
Loughborough University

School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences

School staff

Professor Mike Gleeson

Professor of Exercise Biochemistry

Tel +44 (0)1509 226345

Location HE.1.07


Frame from video Professor Mike Gleeson talks about his research

Professor Mike Gleeson graduated in Biochemistry from the University of Birmingham and then completed a PhD on the effects of diet and exercise on energy metabolism at the University of Central Lancashire. He then worked as a research fellow at Salford University and a lecturer in veterinary physiology at the University of Edinburgh, before moving to Aberdeen University in 1985. There he teamed up with Ron Maughan and Paul Greenhaff and worked on research projects investigating the effects of dietary manipulation on metabolism and performance in high intensity exercise.

In 1987 Mike was appointed senior lecturer in human physiology at Coventry University where he became interested in the effects of exercise on immune function.

In 1996 he was appointed as a senior lecturer in the School of Sport and Exercise Sciences at the University of Birmingham and in 1999 he was awarded a personal chair in exercise biochemistry.

Mike moved to Loughborough University in October 2002 as the new Professor of Exercise Biochemistry.

Over the past 30 years he has published over 170 full peer-reviewed papers on exercise physiology, biochemistry and immunology and sports nutrition. He has also coauthored textbooks in exercise biochemistry, sport nutrition and exercise immunology.

He is a member of the Physiological Society and the International Society of Exercise and Immunology. He is a fellow of the British Association of Sport and Exercise Sciences (BASES) and the European College of Sport Science.

He is a past editor of the Journal of Sports Sciences and is currently associate editor of Exercise Immunology Review; he is also a member of the advisory boards of several other journals including the European Journal of Applied Physiology, the Journal of Sports Sciences and Immunometabolism.

He is a keen tennis player, a bit of a cinema buff, and an armchair football fan.


Mike's recent research has focussed on the effects of exercise, intensified training and nutrition on immune function in athletes. He is particularly interested in markers of immune function that are predictive of infection risk in athletes and in possible nutritional interventions that can limit stress responses to exercise and/or boost immunity.

He is also interested in exercise metabolism, thermoregulation during exercise, nutrition for sport, and the detection and prevention of overtraining in endurance athletes.

In recent years his research has been supported by GlaxoSmithKline, Nestle, Yakult, PepsiCo and the Gatorade Sport Science Institute.

Selected Recent Research Projects and Sources of Funding

  • Effects of a fermented milk product on common cold infection and salivary antimicrobial proteins in endurance athletes: a placebo-controlled, randomized trial. Yakult, £195,800. Co-investigator: NC Bishop. September 2014 – August 2015.
  • Influence of strategic sports supplement ingestion during an intensive training period on performance, markers of overreaching, anti-inflammatory aspects of immune function, sleep patterns, appetite and energy balance. Gatorade Sport Science Institute, £100,000. November 2012-October 2013.
  • Influence of vitamin D and CMV/EBV serostatus on infection incidence during 4 months of winter training in a student cohort of endurance athletes. Gatorade Sport Science Institute, £15,000. August 2012-January 2013.
  • PepsiCo Research Studentship - Nutrition and hydration issues in exercise performance. PepsiCo, £45,365. August 2012-July 2014.
  • Effects of a probiotic intervention on infection, cold symptom duration/severity and mucosal immunity in endurance athletes. Yakult, £198,300. Co-investigator: NC Bishop. September 2010 – October 2012.

External activities

Selected External Research-Related Roles

  • Associate Editor of Exercise Immunology Review.
  • Member of editorial board of Immunometabolism, the European Journal of Applied Physiology and editorial advisory board of the Journal of Sports Sciences.
  • Member of International Life Science Institute Expert Group on Nutrients and Immune Resistance to Infections, 2003-to date.
  • Member of ECSS Expert Group on the Overtraining Syndrome: Causes, Consequences and Prevention, 2005-to date.
  • Member of OIC Expert Group on Illness and Injury Prevention in Athletes, 2015-to date.
  • Vice-President (2005-07) and President (2007-09) of the International Society of Exercise and Immunology (www.isei.dk).

Selected Invited Conference Keynote and Speaker Presentations

  • Gleeson M (2012). Intense exercise training and immune function. Invited lecture, Nestle Nutrition Institute Symposium, Oxford, 14-15 August 2012
  • Gleeson M (2012). Nutritional support to maintain proper immune status of athletes during intense training AND Detection and Prevention of Overtraining in Athletes, Invited keynote lectures, Hellenic Society of Biochemistry and Physiology of Exercise, Athens, 12-13 October 2012
  • Gleeson M (2013). Intense training effects on immune function and ways to minimise infection risk in athletes. Invited lecture, 1st Brazilian Symposium of Immunology in Sport, Sao Paulo, Brazil, 19-23 February 2013
  • Gleeson M (2013). Probiotics for top athletes: The scientific evidence explained. Invited lecture, FINA International Yakult Symposium, Barcelona, 26th July 2013.
  • Gleeson M (2013). The impact of exercise on antimicrobial proteins at mucosal surfaces – acute and chronic effects and impacts on infection risk. Invited lecture, 11th International Society of Exercise and Immunology Symposium, Newcastle, Australia, 9-12 September 2013
  • Gleeson M (2014). Effects of exercise on immune function and practical strategies to limit infection risk in athletes. Invited lecture, 5th Annual Strength and Conditioning Student Conference, Middlesex University, London, 15th March 2014.
  • Gleeson M (2014). Anti-inflammatory effects of exercise. Invited lecture, ACSM, Orlando, FL, USA, 26th-30th May 2014.
  • Gleeson M, Clow A and Dacquisto F (2014). Does stress make you ill? Invited talk and panel discussion, Cheltenham Science Festival, Cheltenham, UK, 5th June 2014.
  • Gleeson M (2014). Exercise and immune function: probiotic potential for athletes. Invited lecture, Sport Nutrition Symposium, Vienna, 19th September 2014.

Featured publications

  • Meeusen, R. , Duclos, M., Foster, C., Fry, A., Gleeson, M.,  Nieman, D., Raglin, J., Rietjens, G., Steinacker, J. and Urhausen, A. (2013). Prevention, diagnosis and treatment of the Overtraining Syndrome. Joint consensus statement of the European College of Sport Science (ECSS) and the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM). Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise 45(1):186-205.
  • Handzlik, M.K., Shaw, A.J., Dungey, M. Bishop, N.C. and Gleeson, M. (2013). The influence of exercise training status on antigen-stimulated IL-10 production in whole blood culture and numbers of circulating regulatory T cells. European Journal of Applied Physiology 113(7):1839-1848.
  • He, C.-H., Handzlik, M., Fraser, W.D., Muhamad, A., Preston, H., Richardson, A. and Gleeson, M. (2013). Influence of vitamin D status on respiratory infection incidence and immune function during 4 months of winter training in endurance sport athletes. Exercise Immunology Review19: 86-101.
  • Gleeson, M., Bishop, N.C., Oliveira, M., McCauley, T. and Tauler, P. (2013). Influence of training load on upper respiratory tract infection incidence and antigen-stimulated cytokine production.Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports23: 451-457.
  • Gleeson, M. and Bishop, N.C. (2013). URI in athletes: Are mucosal immunity and cytokine responses key risk factors? Exercise and Sport Sciences Reviews41(3):148-153.
  • Papacosta, E., Nassis, G. and Gleeson, M. (2013). Salivary hormones, IgA and performance during intense training and tapering in judo athletes. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research27(9): 2569-2580.
  • Hough, J. and Gleeson, M. (2013). Salivary cortisol and testosterone responses to high-intensity cycling before and after an 11-day intensified training period. Journal of Sports Sciences31(14):1614-23.
  • He, C.-H., Handzlik, M., Muhamad, A. and Gleeson, M. (2013). Influence of CMV/EBV serostatus on respiratory infection incidence during 4 months of winter training in a student cohort of endurance athletes. European Journal of Applied Physiology 113: 2613-2619.
  • He, C.-H., Bishop, N.C., Handzlik, M., Muhamad, A. and Gleeson, M. (2014). Sex differences in upper respiratory symptoms prevalence and oral-respiratory mucosal immunity in endurance athletes.Exercise Immunology Review20: 8-22.
  • Teixeira, A.M., Rama, L., Carvalho, H.M., Borges, G., Carvalheiro, T., Gleeson, M., Alves, F., Trindade, H. and Paiva, A. (2014). Changes in naïve and memory T-cells in elite swimmers during a winter training season.  Brain Behavior and Immunity39: 186-193.
  • Prieto-Hinojosa, A., Knight, A., Compton, C., Gleeson, M. and Travers, P.J. (2014). Reduced thymic output in elite athletes. Brain Behavior and Immunity39: 75-79.

You can view a fuller publications list on the University Publications Database.